organizing your music library

Recently I really needed a new way to organize my music library.

I used to have them all lined up on a bookshelf. That worked alright for awhile – like until someone grabbed a few books to play from. Then they all would start leaning and falling over. Plus it never really looked very nice anyway, with the mixture of spiral bound books and sheet music and old books with falling-apart spines. And I would initially try to organize them by composer, but they would inevitably get all out of order.

So next I found a large, cute basket at Walmart, and had it in my living room next to the piano. My music books fit perfectly and it was easy to grab a book and put it back in the right place without them getting all disorganized. But I quickly outgrew that! And inevitably the organization still went right out the window.

Here is my most recent way of organization, and I quite like it!

First I bought a nice shelf to use. Then I went to Ikea and bought a whole bunch of their cardboard magazine holders (they are really inexpensive, and look nice!). I organized all my music by composer and labeled each magazine holder and put them on the shelf. It looks nice, plus it’s easy to pull out the needed music and keep them all in order.

The only problem is that my two-year-old loves to pull the little labels out and bring them to me (luckily I found all but one for this photo!)

How do YOU keep your music or teaching materials organized? Any fun ideas to share?

Check out some more studio organization ideas in our “Helpful Resources” section.

Jennifer Boster

5 Responses to “organizing your music library

  • I keep my books on a shelf in alphabetical order by composer. Then my sheet music I organize into binders with labels like "Church vocal" "Piano" "Duets" "Choral" etc and organize all those pieces alphabetically by composer. It works pretty well for us!

  • I just found your blog and love it (especially the cool title font!). Looking forward to following along and gleaning from your ideas!

    I store my music in file cabinets – one 4-drawer lateral file cabinet and 1 5-drawer vertical file cabinet. It's wonderful! Here's a post with pictures: It works great in my studio, but I love the look of yours for a classier room look.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    I organize my collection of solo piano music alphabetically by composer (Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, etc.), my collaborative music (vocal, trios, duos, etc.) by genre, my student level books by genre (pop, christmas, hymns, classics, jazz, etc.), my student duets by level (elem, int.), and my student-composer books alphabetically by composer (Brown, Rocherelle, Vandall, etc.) It seems complicated, but I can find everything. I don't like mixing my classical books with student books as they tend to get lost in between large books. Plus, if I can remember a student piece, but not the composer, I can easily browse only the student books.

  • I love your latest organizing piece. I am wondering where you found the cabinet. It fits the Ikea magazine folders perfectly!

  • Thanks for the comment! I think I got the cabinet at Target 🙂